From the Libya Herald (associated with the recognized government of Libya and its international partners):
At least two females who seemed to be civilians surrendering to Bunyan Marsous forces, blew themselves up today after being brought inside BM lines, killing four fighters and injuring more than a dozen others.
One of the women had brought two children with her, reported Reuters, but did not detonate her explosives until the infants had been taken to an ambulance. The children were reportedly hungry and dehydrated.
The Bunyan Marsous and other groups advancing into ISIL territory have called to civilians to bug out, if possible.
This incident follows the flight of other women from IS positions in recent days, in response to loudhailer calls for civilians to escape while they could. One young Tunisian girl who surrendered earlier this week has had her story of being duped into joining IS given wide publicity by the BM operations room.
The US continues desultory air strikes.
Yesterday according to US Africa Command, there were three US air strikes all against terrorist positions. There have now been 470 American raids since August.
Libyan Government forces and their allies, like Bunyan Marsous, are doing what they can for force protection.
On Wednesday a BM commander was reported to have said that his men would be holding back from further advances and loss of life. Though tanks, armoured cars and self-propelled guns continue to be in the front line, the attackers have largely been content to bombard terrorist positions while laying down suppressive fire.
And learning a lot about IS defensive tactics.
With the capture of each new building, the extent of the IS defences becomes clearer, with networks of bomb shelters, tunnels and communication lines knocked through buildings. Some of this labyrinth is booby-trapped, a few parts, it seems are well concealed. It is reported that today terrorists started firing from a building that had been taken and supposedly cleared by BM fighters. It is not known if the terrorists had hidden themselves inside the ruins or had later returned to it through tunnels.
This should be not much of a surprise. It’s conventional MOUT defensive tactics, and ISIL leadership primarily come from the Saddam-era and Qaddafi-era conventional armies. ISIL messaging in particular always shows their troops, unlike pro-government forces in Iraq, Libya and Syria, in standardized uniforms.
In other news from the Herald, one gets the impression that the chaos that Libya is already, is spinning further out of control. A presumed ISIL operative planted a bomb in a latrine in the Benghazi hospital treating government troops, and a battle kicked off in Tripoli between forces loyal to the Presidency Council and forces of former allies grand mufti Sadek Al-Ghariani, ploitical figure Khalifa Ghwell, and their Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG). Read The Whole Thing™ to get a sense of the factional chaos that now reigns in Qaddafi’s former kingdom. Even with a program, it’s functionally impossible to tell the various players apart.
Some typos noted by John M. below have been fixed.
With respect to Sirte, media are reporting today that it has fallen to Libyan government forces and the ISIL-associated militiamen have fled or been destroyed.
The suicide attack of the woman with accompanying children was both a response to the Libyan government (etc.) forces’ calls for noncombatants to come out, and an illustration of an ineffective last-ditch tactic (did kamikaze attacks ever win anything, even tactically? No, they just sacrifice people to kill a few enemies, and the kamikaze side always loses in the end).
The short-term prognosis is probably further government gains over a divided and largely ruined nation. The long term prognosis is probably seething, perpetual rebellion and persistence of a failed state across the Med from Italy.